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                         L'CHAIM - ISSUE # 1229
                           Copyright (c) 2012
                 Lubavitch Youth Organization - L.Y.O.
                              Brooklyn, NY
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   Dedicated to the memory of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson N.E.
        July 13, 2012           Pinchas           23 Tamuz, 5772

                          Governance or Power?

One of the Seven Universal Laws is to set up a court system. It's the
only one phrased in the positive. The others - don't worship idols,
don't blaspheme, don't murder, don't steal, don't be sexually immoral,
don't take the limb of a living animal (don't be cruel to animals) - are
phrased as negatives, things we shouldn't do. Setting up a court system
is the only active commandment that applies to all humanity.

(The Seven Universal Laws are the basis of civilization. According to
the Torah, when the six hundred thirteen commandments were given to the
Jewish people at Sinai, these seven, also known as the Noahide laws
because everyone is descended from Noah, were given to the world. Thus
every human being is obligated, by Divine Imperative, to create a world
of goodness and kindness.)

The uniqueness of the commandment to set up a court system requires
examination. Courts are the arbiters not just of justice, but of
government. It used to be that the king was the court of last resort.
Ecclesiastical (religious) power expressed itself in a special legal and
court system. Legislation is valid subject to judicial review. Etc.

Thus, while government is more than the sum of its courts, a society
thrives - or not - on the success, that is, the justness, of its courts.

That said, the Talmud makes two apparently contradictory statements
concerning government and its function. One statement declares, "Be wary
of those in power, for they befriend a person only for their own
benefit; they seem to be friends when it is to their advantage, but they
do not stand by a person in his hour of need."

The other states, "Pray for the welfare of the government, for were it
not for the fear of it, people would swallow each other alive."

So which is it? Both!

The first warns against those with power - not just government. When
power accumulates to individuals or groups outside the "court system"
and its structure - beware. The second speaks not of individuals or
groups - those with authority, control or might - but of government,
institutions set up to regulate society and its affairs. In other words,
we have a vested interest - should pray for - a stable government; to be
stable, a government must have, at its core, a court system that ensures
and enforces justice, fairness and equity - to all citizens.


In this week's Torah portion, Pinchas, an incident with the five
daughters of Tzelafchad - Machla, Noa, Chagla, Milka and Tirtza  - is
related. Tzelafchad, an Israelite who died in the desert, had no sons.
Only sons were entitled to an inheritance; therefore, the daughters of
Tzelafchad were not permitted a portion in the Holy Land.

The daughters of Tzelafchad, who were all known to be righteous women,
objected to the thought that their family would not have a part in the
Land of Israel. They went before Moses, who presented the case to G-d.
G-d said to Moses, "The daughters of Tzelafchad speak properly. You
shall surely give them a possession of an inheritance among their
father's brethren" (Num. 27:7).

The above-mentioned episode is just one example in the Torah of the
relationship of the Jewish women to the Land of Israel.

When the spies returned from the land of Canaan with reports of
fortified cities, armies, and giants, the men decided to turn back to
Egypt. But the women remained steadfast in their desire to enter the
Land. Consequently, only the men of military age were punished; they
were to die in the desert. The women, however, entered the Land.

Tzelafchad's daughters were descendants of the tribe of Menashe, who had
asked Moses for permission to settle on the eastern side of the Jordan.
They could easily have obtained land on that side, since the land there
was distributed through Moses personally. But, they were not content
with such a portion. They loved the Holy Land and wanted a share in it.

The task they had set for themselves was not easy. The established
judicial system was comprised of judges over 50, 100, 1,000, etc. The
daughters had to approach various judges, each one referring the matter
to higher authorities until it was finally brought to Moses, himself.

Tzelafchad's daughters were willing to try to overcome such a seemingly
impossible and tiring obstacle to receive their portion.

This incident can serve as a lesson to us in our daily lives, too. G-d
demands that we conduct our lives according to certain guidelines. Yet
at the same time, He created and organized the universe in such a way
that it seems to preclude proper fulfillment of our obligations of Torah
study and performance of mitzvot.

But, with the right approach, we too, can merit a portion in our
rightful inheritance. We must be willing to try to overcome the
seemingly "impossible" obstacles, just as Tzelafchad's daughters did. If
we undertake it with the same attitude of love as Tzelafchad's
daughters, then certainly we will achieve our goal.

                   Adapted from the works of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

                             SLICE OF LIFE
                          Ends and Beginnings

    The following speeches are from the graduation ceremony at Machon
    Chana Women's Institute, a yeshiva for young women primarily from
    non-Torah observant backgrounds who are devoting time to Torah

                         by Raiza Malka Gilbert

I am very uncomfortable with change, even more than change I don't do
well with endings. Ten months ago I was bawling my eyes out in my Chabad
House the night before I flew to New York to attend Machon Chana. Ten
months later I might be about to do the same thing. I've heard it said
that every beginning is hard. This makes sense to me because every
beginning is also an end. As the year comes to a close I'm forced to
reflect on all that has happened. This past year has been easily the
most life altering experience of my 24 years. I've made friends, watched
some of those friends get married, and observed the most incredible
young women I've ever met flow in and out of Machon Chana.

You've all become my family and each one of you has had a huge impact on
me. Looking all the way back to the first day of school, it amazes me
how many women have come through here this year. Each student, no matter
how long she's been here, is a world apart from where she started. The
learning, both in the classroom and out, has made such an effect on each
one of us; it would have been impossible for us to come out unchanged. I
think its safe to say that we've all come away with a new perspective on
our lives as Jewish women just trying to do what G-d wants.

Of all the changes in my life, all my moves and travels, I've never been
so happy to change as I did this year. If I had to pick the most
essential thing I gained, it would have to be my connection to the
Rebbe, and in turn my connection to G-d. Before I came here I did not
fully understand what a Rebbe is. To know that the Rebbe is really here
for me, that he knows who I am, and that he cares who I am is something
immensely powerful and comforting. I think that it's very difficult to
understand this completely without actually living with the Rebbe
everyday, as I am able to do here in Crown Heights, at Machon Chana. My
amazing teachers constantly strengthen my connection to and
understanding of the Rebbe. Thank you so much for helping me deepen this
bond on a daily basis. The Rebbe always said that we should never become
complacent in our service of G-d; we should always be striving to do
better, to reach new heights, to be more and more connected to G-d. As
much as I've learned this year, and as connected as I feel right now, I
can't wait to do more and really come to understand what it is to be a

After this whole year of growth and self-refinement I am still not a fan
of endings. Its not going to be easy waking up Monday morning knowing it
will be two months until I return. Next year will naturally not be the
same as this year, some of you will not be coming back, much to my
chagrin, but I don't run the world, and you will be sorely missed. I
know G-d knows what He's doing and everything in this world is good, I
know we all have our own journeys and G-d will lead us all exactly where
we need to be, but I'm still working on my bitachon (trust) and this
knowledge doesn't make me any happier to see you go. I love you all so
much, I think the world all of you. You're such special women and I feel
so blessed to be with you at this stage in our lives.

                                *  *  *

               by Rebecca Dakteris - mother of a graduate

I have to admit that since Gabriella graduated from UC Berkeley in three
years instead of four, I thought she could graduate from Machon Chana in
one year instead of two.

But some things are not meant to be rushed. If you want good challah,
you give the dough time to rise. And what Gabriella is accomplishing by
taking on more mitzvot is also a kind of rising, slowly reaching higher
spiritual levels. Plus, when our Chabad rabbi and rebbetzin at home
expressed their hope that Gabi return for a second year, well who can
say "no" to their rabbi?

My mother told me that mothers always want better for their children. In
Orange County, "better" means a bigger house with nicer furniture. I
also always wanted better for my daughter, and by coming here, Gabi has
had and will continue to have all of that. Because a home where Torah is
not only studied but also applied to daily living is the best possible
home, and what nicer furnishings can one possibly have than the holy
books of Torah, Talmud, and Tanya?

I would like to thank all of the teachers and staff members here at
Machon Chana for fulfilling the Rebbe's vision by being lamplighters,
spiritually igniting the souls of young Jewish women like my daughter,
ensuring the continuation of our people and bringing us closer each day
to the rebuilding of our Temple. It was a privilege for her to study
here and an honor to now be one of the Machon Chana alumni.

                               WHAT'S NEW
                           New Torah Scrolls

In celebration of 26 years of activities, the Chabad House in Dimona,
Israel, welcomed a new Torah scroll. The Oneg Shabbat synagogue in Ramat
HaSharon, Israel, also recently celebrated the completion of a new Torah
scroll. In Moscow, Russia, Russian Deputy Communications Minister Nahum
Marder donated a Torah scroll to the central synagogue in Moscow's
Marina Roscha neighborhood, in memory of his parents, who were long-term
members of the synagogue and its previously destroyed building. The
writing of a new Torah scroll, in memory of the Lubavitcher Rebbe's
emissary in South Florida, Rabbi Dovid Bryn, was started in Highland
Lakes, Florida. When completed it will be brought into the new Chabad
House scheduled to break ground soon.

                            THE REBBE WRITES
                      19th of Tammuz, 5720 [1960]

I received your letter of the l6th of Sivan, and I was pleased to read
in it about your efforts to strengthen and spread Yiddishkeit [Judaism]
among the youth. As for suggestions as to how best to carry this out,
this is a matter which depends primarily on local conditions. Therefore,
it would be best for you to consult with some local friends who have
interest, and experience in such activity. Needless to say, the same
applies to the question of a committee on scholarships for boys to go to
Brunoy. As G-d rewards in kind, but in a most generous measure, your
efforts to help others will bring you G-d's blessings in your needs....

Now to refer to the question which you have been asked as to the reasons
why G-d does one thing this way and another thing that way, etc. The
whole question has fundamentally no basis. By way of illustration,
suppose a small child, whose only interest is in food, toys and the
like, would be asked to explain a profound philosophical problem, or the
construction of an intricate machine. This would certainly be considered
absurd, although the difference between the small child and the
philosopher or the engineer is only a difference in degree. It would be
even more absurd to expect a human being to understand G-d's reasons,
for the difference between a human being and G-d is absolute, namely,
the difference between a created being and the Creator.

If sometimes certain aspects of Divine Providence are questioned, it is
only in cases where other human beings are involved, as for instance,
the question of why some righteous people seem to be suffering and
others seem to be prosperous. The reason such a question is asked is
because there seems to be a contradiction between the qualities of the
two persons and their experiences in life. On the other hand, the
question why did G-d create the world is one that lies entirely in the
realm of the Creator. Similarly, why did G-d create the world in this
way and not in another way?

Parenthetically, I wish to add that it is true that some people attempt
to answer such questions. But this should not be taken to mean that the
question itself is a legitimate one, that is to say, a question which
begs to be answered, and if we do not know the answer, we are deficient
in our understanding. It is only that in some instances G-d has revealed
to us additional knowledge, but even if He did not, it would still not
reflect on man's necessary knowledge, inasmuch as such additional
knowledge is out of his range.

To illustrate this, as above: If a child, at the proper age, should not
know the ABC, or how to use a fork and knife, etc., this would be a
defect on his level, where as it would not be a defect if he did not
know philosophy or mechanics. On the other hand, there may be a
possibility where the engineer would attempt to give the child some
rudimentary knowledge about the construction of a machine, or the
philosopher might use a simple parable to put across some element of his
philosophy, in a way that the child might grasp it.

On the question of the meaning of the Hebrew word Adam in relation to
the soul of the first man, needless to say, Adam, and similarly, Noah,
were the fathers of all the peoples of the earth. Generally speaking,
until our father Abraham was born, there was no distinction between Jew
and non-Jew, although, insofar as their souls were concerned, in their
very root, the distinction was implicit.

By way of illustration: When a baby is conceived, there is no
differentiation in the embryo between the various limbs of the body,
such as between the head and foot. Later on, however, the organ develops
in such a way that the head and brain develop out of a more delicate
part than the foot, although previously there was no differentiation
between delicate and non-delicate parts, as there was only one entity.

I have, thus, answered your questions, although I must say that I am not
at all pleased at the fact that you take up so much time with such
questions. For, as the Old Rebbe [Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi], the
founder of Chabad, writes in Iggeres Hakodesh - all Jews are believers,
the sons of believers, who believe in simple faith that G-d created the
world and gave us the Torah and mitzvos [commandments], giving humanity
at large the seven basic mitzvos, including the said seven Noahide laws.
Let me emphasize again that there is an essential distinction between
any human being, and the brute animals and lower forms of creation.

Hoping to hear good news from you,

With blessing,

                               WHO'S WHO

Pinchas was the son of Elazar, the High Priest. He witnessed the immoral
conduct of Zimri, and in his zeal to defend G-d's honor, slew him in his
tent. By this brave act, Pinchas stopped the spread of the plague that
had ravaged the Jewish encampment, killing many thousands. He was
rewarded with the priesthood for him and his descendants.

                        A WORD FROM THE DIRECTOR
                         Rabbi Shmuel M. Butman
Jewish teachings explain that when we study the laws of the Holy Temple,
its structure, the services and sacrifices practiced there, it is as if
we are building it.

Thus, it is customary during the "Three Weeks" of mourning for the
destruction of the Temple, to spend time studying those subjects which
pertain to it. With this in mind, it is appropriate to commence a brief
discussion of the Holy Temple and related themes in the next few weeks.

According to the Zohar, the Temple will first be built and only
afterward will the ingathering of all Jews to Israel take place. The
Midrash Tanchuma, however, proposes the opposite sequence.

First all the Jews will return to the Holy Land, and only afterward, the
building of the Holy Temple will be accomplished.

Maimonides rules like the Zohar. He envisions the Redemption in the
following manner: Moshiach returns the Jewish people to the path of the
Torah, then he rebuilds the Holy Temple; only then does he gather in the

In fact, Maimonides considers the ingathering of the exiles among those
acts that confirm the candidate as Moshiach.

The Rebbe offers two possible reconciliations to these two opinions: The
first is that Maimonides' legal ruling is only valid if the Redemption
comes about in a natural manner. If, however, the Redemption comes about
in a miraculous manner, the in gathering may take place first.

A second possibility is that we will experience a foretaste of the
ingathering of the exiles before the rebuilding of the Temple. The
Temple will then be rebuilt, and afterward we will merit the return of
all Jews to the Holy Land.

In a talk a few years ago, the Rebbe described the massive immigration
of Russian Jews to Israel as a foretaste of the ultimate ingathering of
exiles. May we merit to proceed immediately to the rebuilding of the
Holy Temple this very day.

                          THOUGHTS THAT COUNT
My sacrifice... you shall observe to offer to me in its time. (Num.

The Hebrew word used for "observe" is often used to imply hopeful
anticipation of a future happening. Though we do not have the
opportunity to observe the laws of sacrifice while in exile, our
constant anticipation and hope for the rebuilding of the Temple gives us
a portion in the sacrifices which were previously offered there.

                                                       (Sefat Emet)

                                *  *  *

It is a continual burnt offering which was offered at Mt. Sinai (Num.

A continual burnt-offering hints to the "hidden love" which every Jew
has. This love is continuous, it never ceases.

                                                      (Ohr HaTorah)

                                *  *  *

And G-d said...take the sum of all the congregation of the Children of
Israel from twenty years and upward (Num. 26:1,2)

The Midrash explains that the Jewish people are counted in nine places
in Scripture; the tenth and final census will be taken in the Messianic

This will be done either by Moshiach, according to the Aramaic
translation and commentary of Rabbi Yonatan ben Uziel, or by G-d
Himself, according to the Midrash.

                   (Lubavitcher Rebbe, Shabbat Parshat Chukat 5750)

                                *  *  *

Let the L-rd, G-d of the spirits of all flesh, appoint a man over the
congregation (Num. 27:16)

Conventional thinking holds that as the generations become progressively
lower and more degraded, mediocrity in leadership becomes more
acceptable. However, the Torah tells us that the opposite is true: the
more inferior the generation, the more it needs the guidance of superior
leaders. Analogously, the more ill the patient, the more he needs to see
a specialist...

                                                  (Chidushei HaRim)

                            IT ONCE HAPPENED
When word spread throughout the region around Rimanov that the famous
Count Dravski would be arriving, all the local gentry assembled to pay
homage to the renowned poet and freedom fighter. Although he was now, in
1883, an old man of eighty, his fame had not diminished and he was held
in the highest esteem.

The Count was feted extravagantly and in the course of the reception he
explained the reason for his visit. "When I was a small child I fell
ill. My mother called for the best physicians available, but none of
them could cure me, and they soon despaired of my life. My poor mother
was frantic. I was her only and beloved son. One afternoon a friend of
hers came to visit and advised her to seek the help of a wonder-working
rabbi who lived in a nearby town. This holy man was well known in the
surrounding villages, and Jew and gentile alike came to request his

"My mother lost no time. She called her coachman and with the fastest
horses she flew to the house of Rebbe Menachem Mendel of Rimanov
accompanied by her two closest friends. They arrived at the crack of
dawn, but despite the early hour, the household bustled with activity,
as that was the time reserved for caring for the needs of the indigent.
They requested an audience, and the rebbe agreed to see them after he
completed his prayers.

"When the time finally came, my mother's friend approached the rebbe and
explained the terrible situation. The rebbe listened and then replied in
perfect Polish: 'Have you come to me because you think I am a sorcerer
and I have some magic with which I can help you?'

"'No,' replied my mother's friend, 'but I see that you live a holy life
and so, you are closer to G-d than other people. For this reason G-d
listens to your prayers more closely.'"

"'Since that is your thought I agree to pray for the boy.'

"The women left his room leaving the door ajar, and seated themselves
outside his door. They were able to glimpse the figure of the rebbe. He
was engaged in fervent prayer, beads of perspiration glimmering on his
face. After three hours of this intense devotion he called them into his
room and said: 'At this exact moment your child's illness has been
relieved. When he has recovered completely bring him to me so that I may
bless him.'

"My mother returned home and rushed into my room, asking the maids, 'How
is the child?' They told her that there was no great change, except that
at exactly 12 noon, I had awakened and asked for a glass of water.

"After a few weeks of recuperation I was well enough to travel to the
rebbe. I received his blessing and he admonished me to always treat the
Jews with kindness. Know that I have kept my word. Now that I am an old
man I wished to make a pilgrimage to the rebbe's grave to pray at that
holy spot."

Count Dravski began to weep uncontrollably, and in keeping with Jewish
custom he wrote a note to place at the grave. The note read: "Ye sons of
Abraham, Isaac and Jacob - pray for the soul of the late Menachem
Mendel! And you, Mendel, since you stand already in the presence of the
Heavenly Throne, pray for the oppressed nations - the Jewish People and
Poland - and pray too for me, for my children, and for my grandchildren!

Signed: Miechislaw Dravski, son of Victoria

         (In 1901 the German scholar Aharon Marcus wrote in his Der
          Chassidismus that he had succeeded in securing the actual

                                *  *  *

The second Chabad Rebbe, Rabbi Dov Ber, had a group of chasidim who were
musicians and who would perform together on festive occasions. There
were also a number of chasidim who were horsemen, and they entertained
onlookers by performing on their steeds to the rhythm of the music. The
Rebbe would stand by the window listening to the music and observing the
performance. His son, Reb Nachum, was one of the riders.

Once, the Rebbe unexpectedly called for a performance and stood by the
window to watch. Suddenly, Reb Nachum was flung from his horse and badly
hurt. Rushing to notify the Rebbe, the chasidim were surprised when he
motioned to carry on with the performance.

Only a while later did the Rebbe signal for them to stop and went back
to his room. In the interim, a doctor checked Reb Nachum. "It is not as
bad as it looks," the doctor said calmly. "He has only broken his leg."
After treating the leg, the doctor left, assuring them that it would
heal properly.

Later, some of the chasidim asked the Rebbe why he had ordered the
performance to continue despite the accident. "Why don't you ask why the
performance was called for an ordinary weekday?" responded the Rebbe.

He explained, "I became aware of harsh judgements regarding my son in
the spiritual realms. Since 'happiness mitigates judgement,' I called
for the musicians and the horsemen. The festivities did help, for his
injury was far less serious than predestined. To assure complete
recovery, I ordered the festivities to carry on, despite the fall.
Indeed, with G-d's help, he will recover and no lasting impression of
the original judgement will remain."

        Reprinted with permission from My Father's Shabbos Table by
                                                  Rabbi Y. Chitrick

                            MOSHIACH MATTERS
Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion, for, behold! I will come and dwell
in your midst, says the Lord. And many nations shall join the Lord on
that day, and they shall be My people; and I will dwell in your midst
and you shall know that the Lord of Hosts sent me to you..

                                                 (Zecharya 2:14-15)

               END OF TEXT - L'CHAIM 1229 - Pinchas 5772

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